Here’s How to Make Your Life Easier by Meal-Planning
Expert nutritionist, educator and mum Charlotte Chapman explains why planning your family’s meals for the week significantly impacts your week!
5 min read
Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, but I can assure you that taking 5-10 minutes to plan the meals for the week ahead can really take a load off the stresses and struggles of a normal week.
Each week prior to our grocery shop, I get my trusty meal planner out (you can purchase yours from here and get 10% off with the code mum+) and I write 5 to 6 meals down that I like.
Then, I involve my family. I look in the pantry, fridge and freezer and write the shopping list of things we need – along with the staples of course – milk, eggs, bread, yoghurt etc.
How meal-planning can help you
Meal planning can help…
- Make the weekly struggles in a busy household a wee bit easier
- Save time on planning, preparation and shopping (especially if you need to take children with you to the supermarket)
- Save money, as you won’t be buying unnecessary items
- Use up your meat from the freezer
- Reduce food wastage
- Ensure variety in family meals
- Have an answer to the daily question from husbands or children: “what’s’ for dinner?”
- Eat better as a family
My meal planning advice (that really works)
- Look for around 6 recipes or note down 6 meals that you know the family will enjoy. Keep it simple and remember to store the recipes or meal names that work for planning in the weeks ahead. Maybe try one new dish a week?
- Get your children involved with meal choices. They are more likely to eat a wider variety of dishes and foods if they are involved in the planning and preparation process.
- Plan and buy seasonal fruit and vegetables. By doing this your food will be as fresh and as nutrient dense as possible – not to mention cheaper, too! Check out a produce seasonality chart here.
- Take your list with you when you shop for groceries, or shop online. This means you will ONLY end up with things you need in your trolley – therefore saving money!
- Take into account the weather – no-one feels like a roast or soup on a hot blue-sky day.
- Prepare your meals at any spare moment. If you can do some chopping and getting the meat out of the freezer early in the day, or when the children are asleep, then you are half way there! I get my toddler to help me start to prepare dinner around 4pm. Him helping me actually makes it easier – he is more interested because he is involved
- As soon as you notice you need something or have run out, add it to your shopping list. This will save you wracking your brains come Sunday about that one thing you knew you needed but cant remember
Remember to keep your plan flexible
You want to be able to have takeaways or people for dinner if you feel like it, so don’t over-structure your week’s meals. You can always use the meat you got out from the freezer the next night. Planning for just 5 or 6 nights give you room to change your mind or have a pizza night.
Use My Foodie Family’s Meal Planner
It’s been specifically designed to make your life easier! The planner contains a shopping list and weekly meal plan, 52 tear-off pages (to take your list to the shops) and comes with magnets to stick the whole thing to the fridge. Check it out here and don’t forget to use the code ‘mum+’ for your 10% discount!